Posted 10/30/2013 02:18 pm
Updated 6 months ago
LITTLE ROCK - State Rep. Ann Clemmer on Wednesday said she's running for the 2nd Congressional District next year, calling herself the best candidate to keep the central Arkansas seat in Republican Party control.
Clemmer became the third Republican to announce she was running for the seat since U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin announced last week that he wouldn't seek re-election next year. Griffin, a Republican, was first elected to the seat in 2010.
Clemmer, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has served in the state House since 2009. She had been running for a state Senate seat before deciding to switch to the congressional race.
"We need to hold this seat for the Republican Party and I think I'm the best person to do it," Clemmer told The Associated Press in an interview before formally launching her bid at the state Capitol. "Our state law is constrained by the federal government more and more, and we're seeing that in the Legislature. I'm ready to take our conservative cause of reducing federal government control to D.C."
Clemmer's announcement came a day after Little Rock banker French Hill and retired Army Col. Conrad Reynolds said they were seeking the GOP nomination. Former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays last week announced he was running for the Democratic nomination. The GOP field could grow even further, with state Sen. Jonathan Dismang also considering a run for the nomination.
When asked about examples of the federal government restraining the state, Clemmer cited the No Child Left Behind law and the national Common Core curriculum standards. Clemmer said she wasn't calling for the repeal of either, but said their implementation should be reviewed.
Like Hill and Reynolds, Clemmer said she was opposed to the federal health care overhaul and would support its repeal if elected to Griffin's seat. She also said she supported the state congressional delegation's vote to raise the nation's debt ceiling and end the 16-day federal government shutdown.
Clemmer criticized the federal government shutdown, but stopped short of saying whether she would have supported the push to tie any spending bills to defunding the health care law — a move that led to the budget standoff.
"It would not have been my preferred strategy to see a government shutdown," she said.
Clemmer also appeared to take an indirect swipe at Hill, the founder and chief executive of Delta Trust and Banking Corp., as she touted her background.
"I've spent a life serving others. I haven't spent a life making millions teaching the classroom here," she said. "I haven't sought fortune. I've sought service."
Clemmer declined to say whether the remarks were directed at Hill, who is running on his business background. Hill touted that background and his bank's work in response to Clemmer's comment.
"I'm running for Congress because we need more business leaders in Congress - not more politicians," Hill said in a statement released by his campaign.